The halls of Mercer University’s McCorkle Music Building are crowded with pianos in preparation for an unusual sale.
To make room for the 37 Steinway and Boston pianos the Townsend School of Music purchased to become an “all Steinway school,” the building’s band room will become a piano showroom this weekend.
“The pianos in the sale are in very, very good shape and have been cleaned and tuned,” said David Keith, dean of the music school. “The technicians here are working them into top condition, so this sale will be an opportunity to get a great, great piano at a reasonable price.”
The music school traded in 37 non-Steinway pianos -- including upright, digital and grand pianos -- as part of its Steinway upgrade. Steinway Piano Galleries in Atlanta is handling the sale and will also have new pianos in the sale as well.
In all, there are 51 pianos for sale, including a dozen used models from Mercer. Prices begin at $990 for a used, upright model and go up to $90,000 for a new Steinway and Sons grand piano.
There will be appointment-only sales Friday and Saturday, then an open sale Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
“We’ve already had a lot of interest,” said Ike Van Meter, institutional sales director for Steinway Piano Galleries. In all, there were 45 appointments by Wednesday afternoon.
The money to purchase the 37 Steinways came from a $1.5 million gift by R. Kirby Godsey, Mercer’s chancellor and former president, to honor his wife, Joan S. Godsey. The gift also established the Joan S. Godsey Center for Keyboard Studies.
The 37 purchased pianos will be added to four Steinway and Sons concert grand pianos and a Boston grand piano that the school already owns. Those pianos are being refurbished by technicians brought in by Steinway Piano Galleries.
The rich, tonal quality of the handmade Steinways is discernible even to the untrained ear, Keith said, and makes a tremendous difference to trained musicians and the students that Townsend recruits.
“Much like a football recruit who comes to look at a program and wants to see the field and the scoreboard, music students want to know the equipment they will spend so much time learning on is of the best quality,” Keith said. “And that is what the all-Steinway designation means to potential students.”
Mercer will be the seventh school in Georgia with that designation, Van Meter said. The moniker will be officially bestowed on the school at an event Sept. 5 featuring a concert by Orion Weiss, a rising star in concert piano, and a presentation by representatives from Steinway and Sons headquarters.
Appointments for July 25 and 26 can be scheduled at MercerPiano.org or by calling (844) 711-3010.
To contact Mark Vanderhoek, call 744-4225.